16 Under-$17 Foundations The Pros Swear By

We have a love-hate relationship with foundation. On one hand, what would we do without the stuff on mornings when we wake up exhausted, red-faced, and in major need of a complexion boost? On the other, attempting to find the right shade and formula when you're standing in front of a wall of hundreds is like trying to crack a nuclear code.
Thankfully, you no longer have to puzzle over finding the right base makeup. And you also don't have to spend more than $17. We tapped Refinery editors and professional makeup artists to share the drugstore picks they love. Whatever your skin type, desired coverage, or finish preference, there's guaranteed to be one that checks all the boxes. Click through to find the perfect one for you.
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The Expert: Mi-Anne Chan, beauty writer

Best For: Oily Skin

"Despite this foundation's full-coverage, matte finish, it never looks cakey or flat on the skin."

L'Oréal Infallible Pro-Matte 24hr Foundation, $12.99, available at Ulta Beauty.
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The Expert: Mi-Anne Chan, beauty writer

Best For: Dry to normal skin

"For an alphabet cream, which is essentially a glorified tinted moisturizer, this BB cream packs a powerful hit of coverage. It evens out discoloration and minor blemishes in a single coat and feels like skin care."

Garnier BB Cream Miracle Skin Perfector, $12.99, available at Ulta Beauty.
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The Expert: Andre Sarmiento, celebrity makeup artist

Best For: Oily or combination skin

"I really love the Combination/Oily version of the ColorStay base. It's a luminous, matte finish that feels super-modern even after it has set, and it applies like a dream. A lot of bases at this price point tend to dry too quickly for my taste, but this one gives you so much playtime to create a flawless base. Also, they have incredibly rich colors for olive, medium, or deep skin tones."

Revlon ColorStay Makeup, $12.99, available at Ulta Beauty.
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The Expert: Cat Quinn, R29 beauty director

Best For: Combination skin

"I was running late one morning when I realized I was down to the last drop of my foundation. I reached into a bag of products I had brought home to test and found this bottle. I hurriedly smeared it all over my face without even looking. When I turned to the mirror, I was shocked. My skin looked clear and even, with very little need for concealer. Obviously, it's easy to blend, too, since I did it with my eyes closed. Major win!"

Sonia Kashuk Perfecting Luminous Foundation, $12.99, available at Target.
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The Expert: Carissa Ferreri, professional makeup artist

Best For: Oily to combination skin

"I'm a superfan of the Maybelline Fit Me! Foundation. I love its luminosity and ability to cover imperfections while still looking natural. Try the Fit Me! Matte + Poreless foundation for the summer months, when skin tends to be more oily."

Maybelline Fit Me! Matte + Poreless Foundation, $7.49, available at Walgreens.
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The Expert: Elisa Flowers, professional makeup artist

Best For: Normal to dry skin

"[This] is my favorite bargain foundation because it gives incredible coverage, yet looks like dewy skin. The shade range is gorgeous, too, ranging from warm to cool and light to dark. I like to apply this product by pressing a Beautyblender onto the cushion, then buffing it onto skin. The look is natural and luminous."

L'Oréal True Match Lumi Cushion Foundation, $16.99, available at Ulta Beauty.
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The Expert: Sam Sasso, R29 beauty editorial assistant

Best For: All skin types

"I've been using Neutrogena products since I first started wearing makeup when I was around 12 years old. I started a bit early, in my mother’s opinion, so I tried to steer clear of heavy-duty coverage. A decade later, and I'm still using this base. My favorite thing about it is that no matter how I apply it — with a brush, beauty sponge, or my fingers — it goes on flawlessly and makes my skin look fresh and dewy, even at the end of the day."

Neutrogena Healthy Skin Liquid Makeup, $13.99, available at Drugstore.com.
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The Expert: Steve Schepis, professional makeup artist

Best For: Normal to dry skin

"I like a foundation that isn't very matte. This one has a great price point and comes in a lot of shades. I apply it with fingers, a stippling brush, or a Beautyblender to buff it out. [The finish is] dewy with medium coverage, but you can't build it too much."

Maybelline Fit Me! Dewy + Smooth Foundation, $4.99, available at Target.
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The Expert: Alix Tunell, R29 senior beauty editor

Best For: Normal to dry skin

"I'm a sucker for any product that contains argan oil — and when it comes in a tube that looks like a little Moroccan palace, well, SOLD. The formula is luxuriously creamy and more full-coverage than you'd expect from a BB cream, and it gives my skin a glowy, but never oily, finish. The only downside is the two-shade range: light and light/medium."

Physicians Formula Argan Wear BB Cream, $8.59, available at Target.
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The Expert: Mi-Anne Chan, R29 beauty writer

Best For: Combination skin

"I'm a huge fan of the BB-and-CC-cream category when it comes to base makeup. Why? Because these types of products manage to hydrate and conceal while maintaining the integrity of my skin's natural texture. This one from Bourjois offers medium, but buildable, coverage, and leaves my complexion smooth and plump."

Bourjois 123 Perfect CC Cream, $16.18, available at Asos.
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The Expert: Sam Sasso, R29 beauty editorial assistant

Best For: Normal to oily skin

"I first found out about this foundation from a YouTube beauty guru and bought it for my mom to try first (I know, I'm such a thoughtful daughter). She loved it, and when I started going home on the weekends, I found myself stealing it. I eventually bought my own, and now I keep it in my kit for days when I want long-lasting coverage with sun protection. Plus, I find myself skipping primer and concealer when I use this, so it really cuts down on getting-ready time in the morning."

CoverGirl Outlast Stay Fabulous 3 in 1 Foundation, $11.99, available at Ulta Beauty.
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The Expert: Megan Decker, R29 beauty production assistant

Best For: Combination skin

"I love tinted moisturizers and BB creams because they even out my skin and cover blemishes without looking or feeling cakey. This sheer cream is a staple in my makeup bag because it gives my skin a subtle glow and doesn't mask any of my freckles. It's light and contains SPF 15 — so it's a good pick for every season."

Burt's Bees BB Cream SPF 15, $14.99, available at Target.
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The Expert: Khalea Underwood, R29 beauty writer

Best For: Normal, combination, and oily skin

"Typically, I'm a Nars kind of girl — and rarely let any other brand's base products touch my face. Not because I'm a snob, but because I don't feel like going through the grueling process of finding a shade that's a near-perfect match. I lucked out with Iman's BB cream, however. Even though it's lightweight, it still provides enough coverage for me to feel front-facing camera ready — and it was a cinch to find my color."

Iman Skin Tone Evener BB Cream SPF 15, $20.49, available at Walgreens.
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The Expert: Molly R. Stern, celeb makeup artist

Best For: Normal skin

Stern says this range is great for someone who needs coverage, but doesn't want to feel like they have a mask on — plus, it comes in 25 shades!
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The Expert: Jamie Greenberg

Best For: Oily skin

Greenberg recently stopped by the R29 offices to test dozens of drugstore foundations, and she fell hard for this formula. It treats blemishes as it covers, is lightweight, and sets to a matte finish that's perfect for oily skin types.

Almay Clear Complexion Blemish Healing Liquid Makeup, $14.99, available at Ulta Beauty.
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The Expert: Kelsey Castanon, R29 beauty news editor

Best For: Oily skin

"Despite the fact that this oil- and- fragrance-free formula was designed with color-matching technology to adjust to your perfect shade, it doesn't hurt that the line also has 33 shades — juuust in case."

L'Oréal True Match Super Blendable Makeup, $9.99, available at Ulta Beauty.
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